Cho Ju-bin, the mastermind of a notorious online sex blackmail ring, had his sentence commuted by an appeals court Tuesday.
The Seoul High Court sentenced him to 42 years, down three years from the original sentence, on charges of violating laws to protect minors from sexual abuse, operating a criminal ring and concealing criminal proceeds.
While the accused ran an "unprecedented" online criminal ring to exploit "countless" young victims and inflicted "irreversible" damage to them, he settled with some of them out of court "thanks to his father's efforts," the court said, explaining its reason for the commutation.
The appeals court, however, maintained the previous court's order that his personal details be made public for 10 years and banned him from working at children-related facilities for 10 years after his release.
It also maintained that Cho has to wear an electronic bracelet for 30 years and pay a forfeiture of 100 million won ($90,000).
Early last year, the online predator was indicted on 14 counts of criminal allegations. Cho was accused of organizing a criminal ring from May 2019 to February 2020, during which he and his accomplices blackmailed 74 females, including 16 minors, into filming sexually abusive content and selling them to the members of Baksabang, an online chat room on Telegram.
In Tuesday's ruling, four of his adult accomplices were sentenced to seven to 13 years in prison, while an underaged accomplice received a maximum of 10-year and a minimum of five-year imprisonment under the Juvenile Act. (Yonhap)